5 dead and 40 wounded in gas cylinder explosion in southern Pakistan ship-breaking accident

Lahore,Nov1:At least five people were killed and dozens wounded on Tuesday when a gas cylinder exploded and started a fire inside an oil tanker being broken up for scrap in southern Pakistan, officials said.

The accident happened at the Gadani shipbreaking yard in the southwestern province of Balochistan, some 50 kilometers west of Karachi.

“A gas cylinder explosion caused a huge fire in the ship which was being dismantled. Some 40 labourers sustained burns and at least five have been killed,” Balochistan home secretary Akbar Harifal told AFP, ruling out a deliberate attack.

Mohammad Hashim, a senior local administration official, confirmed the incident and the casualties.

TV footage showed a thick plume of black smoke rising from the ship, which remained ablaze as rescue workers rushed to the scene.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his “deep grief and sorrow” over the incident, according to a statement by his office.

Industrial accidents are common in Pakistan with workplaces often forgoing basic safety measures and equipment in the absence of legislation to protect labourers.

A devastating fire at a textile factory in Karachi killed 255 people in 2012.

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